Cupping some warm soup, served in a heavy bowl, while the snowflakes fall outside is one of the true joys of living in New England. Our spring may come late, and our fall may hit early, but with these long winters comes a real appreciation of 'cozy'; snuggling up a little tighter to your bed buddy, putting your toes just a hair too close to the fire, standing by the warmth of the oven, and that soup... there's just nothing as comforting as soup.
So in honor of St. Patrick's Day and a very snowy and cold start to spring, I made some cabbage soup. It really did take the edge off of this slow thaw, and as with most rustic soups, it's ridiculously easy and adaptable.
Vegetarian Cabbage Soup:
- 1 small head of cabbage (or half of a large head), coarsely chopped
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 6 medium celery stalks, chopped
- 5 small potatoes (or two large), peeled and chopped
- 1 16 oz can of cannellini beans (or equivalent prepared), drained and rinsed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1-2 cups water (plus more as necessary)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp dried thyme (or fresh is even more lovely)
- * rind of parmesan cheese (optional, but adds so much flavor- save all of your rinds they are magic!)
- salt and pepper to taste
Chop and prepare all of the vegetables. Rinse and drain the beans. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed stock pot.
Add the garlic and onions and saute a few minutes until translucent. Add the carrots, celery, cabbage, and potatoes and stir a few minutes until the cabbage just begins to wilt. Add a bit of salt along with the cheese rind, bay leaf, caraway seeds, and thyme and stir together.
Add the vegetable stock and 1 to 2 cups of water depending on how many veggies you have ( you can always add more as it cooks). Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, partially covered. Add the beans and stir together. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through and the veggies are tender, about another 30 to 40 minutes.
Salt and pepper to taste. Let cool a bit and enjoy.
I like to serve this soup topped with a little grated parmesan or a few slices of sharp cheddar cheese. For a hearty dinner, we pair it with a side of soda bread (big daddy doughnut bread as Little Smith calls it) and sausage. Our favorite is Field Roast veggie sausage (the apple sage is perfect with this meal), but any will do.
If you find yourself watching for snow melt and crossing your fingers for signs of spring flowers, try a bowl of soup to warm you up and pass the time!